By Alex Medina

Even after an all nighter, I was still studying for finals at 7 a.m. when I began to receive messages from a couple of friends telling me about the news. LAUSD had decided to shut down all the schools in the district because of an emailed threat of violence.

At first, I couldn’t believe it and thought that it was all just a lie. After turning on my television and turning to the news, I realized that it was all true. All I could really think about was how not taking big finals today would affect my grades.

Soon enough though, I began to think about the bigger picture. I would usually ignore what was going on in the world as it didn’t really affect me directly. I mean, I’m just an average 15-year-old in the so-called greatest nation in the world. I don’t really deal with the many problems that face the rest of the world.

I’ve always known about terrorism and how by nature we’ll never be at peace with one another in this world, but I would always shrug it off as just being another thing we have to deal with as humans. But LAUSD shutting down all of its schools in order to protect students from a great threat honestly spread much fear among my age group. This is a horrible thing that can really be demoralizing for teenagers.

These days, social media helps to get information out quickly, and most people my age knew about LAUSD shutting down schools the second the information was put out there. In an instant, most district students found out what had happened, but most didn’t really understand what it meant. Many of my friends and acquaintances began to message me and post things online to make others aware of the situation.

Some were as happy as can be. They went out with friends. Others were angry as they had stayed up all night studying, like me, and would be missing out on a final they prepared so hard for.

There were others that simply shrugged it off and thought nothing of it. Many simply denied it and were surprised when it turned out to be true, but didn’t really think much of it either. The one group of people who helped me have a deeper understanding were those who were afraid.

Fear affects every person differently. Depending how you were raised, what generation you were born into, and the way you think, you’ll fear certain things. The people who were afraid of what was going on today shared something in common. They all knew of the problems going on in the world. Every single one of them instantly knew that the horrors that they were born into could be beginning to reach their climax: America declaring another war to protect its citizens from terrorism.

When Superintendent Ramón Cortines made the announcement, he said he was using extreme caution and alluded to recent alleged acts of terrorism, like the recent mass shooting in San Bernardino.

I can understand, but don’t agree with provincial people in America who want to throw the baby out with the bathwater when it comes to terrorism. But I now think that people my age will adopt this way of thinking.  Fear is something that leads to irrational action. But it’s better to be safe than sorry, right?

I was born into an era of fear for what terrorism could bring. The fear of terrorism is what led to the many problems that plagued the world as I grew up. As I grew up, there were always people talking about the horrors of what had happened on 9/11. I used to believe that all the innocents who were lost on that day somehow could warrant the war that followed. As I entered adolescence though, I had a new perspective of things.

I read about the innocent civilians in Iraq who were killed. I heard about how desolate the whole place became. I read about those who went to war to defend their country united by a shared fear. I realized how the threat that we fear today came about from what had happened before. Now, I have a better understanding of why what happened today happened. It’s all because of fear.

Alex Medina is a sophomore at Bravo Medical Magnet High School and a youth journalist with Boyle Heights Beat.

Photo above: Flickr user Danielle Henry

Boyle Heights Beat

Boyle Heights Beat is a bilingual community newspaper produced by its youth "por y para la comunidad". The newspaper and its sister website serve an immigrant neighborhood in East Los Angeles of just under...

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